Here’s a bit of news that would surely split the world ski fans’ opinion once again:
Therese Johaug is not only NOT losing her sponsors – on the contrary, she’s gaining new ones!
Norwegian VG.no is reporting that Saltdalshytta, country’s largest wooden cottage builder and rental agency, has just announced its partnership with the Norwegian Olympic and world champion, currently banned for doping
” She is banned ( from competing) but we know her as a person and we are fond of her – just as the Norwegian people seem to have become fond of her” Trond-Arve Nikolaisen, Saltdalshytta’s Marketing Manager told VG
The reference to “Norwegian people being fond” of Johaug is a key to understanding the sponsors’ reaction to the CAS verdict, that deprived the skiing star of a chance to run at the 2018 Olympics.
Asko, Huawei, Colgate, United Bakeries, TAG Heuer ( via Nortime, the Norwegian importer of Tag Heuer), Jaguar and Oakley – they all are standing behind Therese.
“We will support her further, 110 percent!” wrote the chairman of Asko, country’s largest grocery wholesaler, Torbjørn Johannson – and promptly offered to sponsor Therese all the way to the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.
The only brand that formally cut ties with Johaug is Fischer GmbH, her ski/boots sponsor – invoking the anti-doping clause in the contract, but heavily hinting at restoring cooperation once the ban is over ( that was in February).
Johaug’s sponsors behavior is quite indicative of how the world has changed in the last decade. Back then a banned star would simply have dropped off the radar without appearing in the major competitions – and lose value to sponsors.
These days social media channels keep Johaug popularity at home ( and with many a fan abroad too) as strong as ever – if not stronger. Traditional media take a note of how many clicks/likes/shares each of her posts gets – and keep on covering every aspect of her career & life.
Winning races is still a must for gaining popularity – but for keeping it going & cashing in on that one really needs a pro team of social media managers.
Top photo courtesy of facebook.com/Therese-Johaug